How One Man Travelled to 177 Countries in One Car

This is the story of Gunther and his best mate, his 1989 Mercedes G-Wagon and how together they’ve travelled to over 177 countries and racked up close to 900,000 kilometres on a trip that has spanned over 3 decades.

The BBC has the full article including some amazing pictures here. It’s long but well worth the full read. Here are a few excerpts to wet your travel appetite:

African Roads
Photo Credit: Wajahat Mahmood cc

On Close Calls with Wild Animals

Whilst sleeping in remote Africa, Gunther awoke in the middle of the night…

At one point he woke suddenly, without knowing why.

“I lowered one side of the canvas and looked straight into the eyes of a spotted hyena,” he says. It was about two feet away. “The hyena was shocked, I was shocked. I made a noise like ‘Woof!’ and fortunately the hyena dashed away.”

Hyenas generally eat dead animals, but the spotted hyena has been known to take a bite out of sleeping humans.”

Wild Animals in Africa

Photo Credit: David W. Siu cc

On Close Calls with Disease

Gunther doesn’t let a small thing like Malaria get him down…

All problems can be solved in time, he believes, and malaria – which he has now had eight times – is one that he reckons to overcome in two days.

“Fifty per cent of sickness is sickness you have mentally,” he says. “You get malaria and mentally you add another malaria – but I cut it by 50%. I take pills, my fever goes down, and the next day the sun is shining again, and everything is all right.”

On Keeping a Positive Attitude

When you travel for the better part of your life you need to have a positive outlook on life and Gunther has some pearls of wisdom…

There are some people who, faced with 99 positive things and one negative, focus on the negative thing, he suggests. “I am the other way round. If there are 99 negative and one positive, I focus on the positive.”

“Life is a chain of missed opportunities,” Holtorf says, “and you have to make sure the chain stays short.” He could easily have let slip the opportunity to invite Dreweck to join him, and she could easily have turned down his bold suggestion. But the opportunity was taken, not missed.


He’s Even Road Tripped Through North Korea

At 177 countries, their aren’t many places Gunther and Otto haven’t been and thanks to some German diplomacy and Mercedes Benz they managed to road trip through the hermit kingdom of North Korea…

North Korean Roads

Photo Credit: D-Stanley cc

From that point on the pre-arranged plan was executed with military precision. Otto and the escort car passed roadblocks every few kilometres.

For extra security it had been arranged that there was no other traffic on the road. In Pyongyang, meanwhile, every police officer had been issued with a picture of Otto.

Holtorf remembers North Korea as the most expensive country he has ever visited.

To read the full story, head on over to the BBC News and be inspired. We salute you Gunther, Otto and your truly unique adventure!